If I had to name the one thing that I’ve worked on in my social media career that has been the most rewarding, it has got to be bringing the ‘wearecisco’ Snapchat account to life. And I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff in the past. Some pretty cool stuff even at Cisco (like growing our Twitter account from 2K to 20K in one year.)
What follows is the story, the journey of how we came to be on Snapchat, how we paved a path for Cisco, and how we’ve seen success on a channel that most brands shun. Originally published on the Cisco blog.
Snapchat. It’s the new shiny social media platform. It has the most marketing-sought-after age group as it’s primary user base (that would be millennials and Gen Z) and it’s all anyone in social media can talk about.
As the social media lead for Cisco’s Talent Brand Team, I know that our team has been talking about it for over a year. How could we take Cisco’s awesome culture to Snapchat while staying true to the platform? How, as a brand, would we take the personal connections with our employees and our technology, and tell the stories with their voice so that we could attract more great employees? This mission has served us so well on other social media channels, like Twitter and Instagram, but Snapchat is like no other social media channel. We didn’t want to be “marketers,” we wanted to be “coworkers.”
Finally, the time for talking had passed. It was time to jump on the Snapchat train, or else watch it leave the station without us.
Our answer was right in front of us.
Through our social media listening, and connections with employees that we’ve made in finding stories for our Life at Cisco blog, we realized that we had some pretty awesome talent brand ambassadors already at our disposal.
So the social team set up a meeting to bring them all together. They were excited just about the meeting – it was a way to connect in person (and on Webex) for the first time with other like-minded individuals. They felt like they were a part of the “inner circle” (they were) and referred to the meeting for weeks as the Cisco Secret Society.
Little did we know at the time, but they became the Kitten Rainbow Unicorns/KRUs – (everything that is awesome about the Internet.) We asked them if they’d like to have the keys to Cisco’s first Snapchat channel, (username wearecisco) to highlight the culture and their voice to the world. They said, “um, YEAH!”
As you might imagine, this was a little bit of a scary proposition, we were innovating in true Cisco fashion, and sometimes, that’s not an easy thing. We realize now we shouldn’t have worried. The wearecisco Snapchat channel is just as awesome as the employees that give us the content for it.
How’d we do it?
The Talent Brand Social Team manages the account logistics and provides enthusiasm and opportunities. We have a shared calendar where the KRUs can sign up for whatever day/topic they would like. As my manager, Director of Culture and Talent Brand Macy Andrews says all the time: “We didn’t over-engineer what they could post. We let them be them, authentic and raw and wonderful.”
They had to sign Cisco’s employee social media policy and know how Snapchat worked. (We helped with tips and tricks, but we didn’t provide any formal training, as Snapchat isn’t terribly intuitive and it’s a platform where doing it “your own way” is preferred.)
This team self-organized – they talk to each other, hand off Snapchat duties like they’ve been doing it forever, and check in with the social team along the way to make sure they’re “doing it right.” (The answer is always yes, by the way. We couldn’t construct it any better if we tried.)
While we keep the Snapchat group small to help us manage and insure account security, we have now rolled new Snapchatters into the program. Each month we add a few more people in more geographies (we’ve covered the US, Canada, Israel, UK and Ireland so far) to keep the story fresh.
We’ve also been honored to have Snappers who are located in our San Jose headquarters who have managed to have several of our executives make guest appearances – and were thrilled when both Executive Chairman John Chambers and our CEO Chuck Robbins appeared on the channel with our employees.
How do we know it’s working?
While Snapchat doesn’t have analytics in the traditional social media sense (which is okay with us, because social media folks know that it’s not about the quantity of followers, but it’s also about the quality) we work with an analytics partner to track our success.
We’ve had 600% follower increase week over week since launch. We’ve seen 70-80% rate of story completion (clicking through from start to finish on each story) and our reach continues to grow.
What do our Snapchatters say?
Does YOUR company trust you to be their voice??? Mine DOES!! This has been and continues to be one of the best experiences I have had at Cisco and one that I think will be very rare among my peers at companies across the globe. – Stephanie Mosher, Executive Assistant, Cisco Austin
Sharing the Cisco interns has been really fun – they are all super excited to meet who is snapping for Cisco for the day, follow our channel (or tell me how they are already following) and share their excitement to a Cisco employee. – Carla Leigh, HR Manager, Cisco San Jose
Using the WeAreCisco Employee SnapChat account has been an incredibly fun experience and is instrumental in understanding and connecting with fellow colleagues globally. I feel proud that Cisco allows us the opportunity to show off our playful side and why we #LoveWhereYouWork at Cisco! – Rehana Rehman, Business Operations, Cisco San Jose
And those are just a few of the comments we hear!
What does it mean to me?
Working with this group of KRUs has been one of the best experiences of my career. They make my job exciting every day. They make me proud to be a fellow Cisconian. And they make Cisco and Cisco’s Talent Brand look good. Every time I see how they use Snapchat to interpret life at Cisco, I’m left with a huge smile on my face. To honor Cisco’s new brand campaign, I would say there has never been a better time to be a part of the #WeAreCisco tribe.